BrightonSEO: Lessons Learnt about Content Marketing
Content Marketing

BrightonSEO: Lessons Learnt about Content Marketing

5th May 2014

State of Digital has summarised a series of content marketing lessons from a selection of this year’s BrightonSEO speakers. We address the role of content at every stage in the buying cycle, how boring content can have great value and tips on designing great content, covering the presentations of Matt Evans, Mike Essex, and Vicke Cheung.

Lesson 1: Content can sell, it’s not just about marketing

Matt Evan’s message was clear: stop thinking about content as just a marketing strategy. Matt said we should instead consider how using content at every stage of the sales funnel can help to drive conversions.

The use of content solely for marketing purposes has resulted in great volumes of low quality content cluttering the digital landscape. Where SEOs had previously been guilty of stuffing Google with keywords, Matt said it is now being stuffed with content. He stressed that not only is this filling the internet with junk but that the full role of content is not being realised. Content purely for SEO misses the sales process. Content can actually be extending to selling and this is the trick brands are often missing.

Matt asked us to consider a classic sales funnel:

–           Stage 1 – unaware, e.g. an overweight person

–           Stage 2 – aware of the situation, e.g. an overweight person who wants to get fit

–           Stage 3 – product awareness , e.g. an overweight person who is researching trainers to help get fit

–           Stage 4 – purchase intent, e.g. an overweight person who buys a pair of trainers to get fit

Often, content marketing has a heavy focus at the top end of the funnel, or stage 1, which is increasing awareness. However, Matt explained you can remarketing customers with relevant content to drive them down the purchase funnel, as opposed to the usual remarketing with products ads.  Leading on from the above sales funnel example, you could remarket to the overweight person with content themed on health and fitness, e.g. “How to get from couch to 5km in 5 easy steps”. This bring the customer back into the purchase funnel and makes them informed and a more informed audience has a greater propensity to purchase.

Matt finished with sharing some figures on the value of retained customers:

–           It costs 5x more to acquire a new customer

–           80% of future profits come from 20% of existing customers

–           Repeat customers spend 33% more than existing ones.

You can see Matt’s slides in full here:

Matt Evans – Stop selling blind content – start selling through content @digimatt @pancentric

Lesson 2: “Boring content” has great value.

It is no surprised that we are all addicted to great content. But how does it actually get sales? Similar to the point that Matt Evan’s raised, Mike Essex said that so-called “boring content” is the biggest opportunity in content marketing. The definition of “boring content” in Mike’s talk is content that is of more traditional forms, e.g. a biotechnology company’s press release, a server product specification, a vacuum cleaner product guide and even the credo of Johnson and Johnson.

Mike said that many FTSE 100 and AMEX 100 companies  successfully use “boring content” at the heart of their marketing strategy. The reality is, “boring content” is quality content pitched to the right audience and in the most suitable format. Consider what content is best for an investor. Would a scientists engage with the same content? And what of older generations who may be used to more traditional forms of content? It is important for marketers not to make assumptions – it is easy to create infographics on dry subjects but will these really have the impact you want? This content may ultimately have little resonance with the intended audience and you will become guilty of littering the internet with valueless content.

Brand assets shape the outline of Mike’s boring industry marketing blueprint. A successful “boring content” marketing plan being involves being aware of different target audiences, presenting them with the more suitable form of content and at the right time and place. Or in one word: relevancy.

You can see Mike’s slides in full here:

Mike Essex – The boring industry content marketing blueprint @Koozai_Mike


Lesson 3: Tips for Designing Great Content

We all want to have great content, but it can sometimes be hard to come up with new ideas.  Vicke Cheung shared with the audience some tips on how to create it, this involves two key steps:

1 Nailing the Process and 2. The Design Brief

In order to nail the process, everyone has to take part in the first step which is:

1. Visual Research using Pinterest

The most important area of designing great content Is research.  Vicke does a lot of visual research and encourages her clients to work with her. It is easy to go into Google to carry this out, but Vicke recommended visit the following sites for image research:, and

  • Be broad with initial research and use Pinterest to create mood boards
  • Spend 15 minutes refining and analysis
  • Companies should tell their designers what they want/do not want

2. The Design Brief

Streamline the process by setting up a briefing template and think about:

  • Brand restrictions – fonts or color pallets.
  • Where will it live?
  • Does it need to be responsive design?

3. Giving Feedback

Realtimeboard is a very good tool to give feedback.  It is a simple online white board app and allows cross collaboration in a very visual way. Vicke then shared with the audience how Distilled use this free tool.

4 Ways Distilled Use RealTimeBoard

  • Each project gets its individual board
  • Keep everyone in the loop
  • Upload visuals at each stage
  • Make good use of the comment tool

4. Quality Assurance Testing

It is extremely important to have thorough browser and testing platform in place.

Use or use

Part 2 – Tips on Design

Vicke shared three design tips we should all take on board for content creation.


Bad typography is everywhere. Vicke recommended Google fonts  ( and to find fonts.  She also recommended we consider a subscription. It is important to make sure that all free fonts that download edare suitable for the web.


Stocksy images are genuine and believable – better than istock.  However if there is limited budget, try flickr via creative commons  Apart from being a good image, consistency is key, they need to be in line with the companies style and guidelines.

Social Images

They have to pack a punch, to draw interest and encourage people to share the content.

You can see Vicke’s slides in full here:

Vicke Cheung

Speaker bios:

Matt Evans @DigiMatt

A  Senior SEO Consultant, Matt started off in PPC and now leads the team at Pancentric Digital creating SEO and content strategies. You can read more about his digital marketing adventures at

Mike Essex @Koozai_Mike

An Online Marketing Manager, Mike Essex leads client content and SEO strategies at agency Koozai. Another passion aside from digital marketing is writing and Mike is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction books.

Vicke Cheung @VickeKaravan

Vicke joined Distilled’s Creative team as a recent graduate of Graphic Design from the acclaimed Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. Since then, she has transferred her knowledge of traditional print design and applied the principles to create successful pieces of online content. Favourite things include typography, puppies, and cooking.



About the author

Briony GunsonBriony Gunson is an SEO Client Manager at Resolution Media, part of Manning Gottlieb OMD, a London based Media Agency.

Having previously worked across PPC, SEO and Social, Briony is passionate about integrated SEM strategies and handles accounts for a wide range of UK clients. She enjoys the challenge of working with multiple teams, agencies and stakeholders to develop holistic digital strategies and is always looking for ways to improve and tailor processes, relationships and practices.

When not burning the midnight oil at work, she’s tearing about on a netball court, cycling to dance classes or bopping about at a gig. You can come say hello @BrionyGunson


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